By Oswald Chambers

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

     "Why should I believe a thing because it is in the Bible?"  That is a perfectly legitimate question.  There is no reason why you should believe it; it is only when the Spirit of God applies the Scriptures to the inward consciousness that a person begins to understand their living efficacy.  If we try from the outside to fit the Bible to an external standard or to a theory of verbal inspiration or any other theory, we are wrong.  "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (John 5:39-40).

     There is another dangerous tendency, that of closing all questions by saying, "Let us get back to the external authority of the Bible."  That attitude lacks courage and the power of the Spirit of God; it is literalism that does not produce written epistles but persons who are more or less incarnate dictionaries; it produces not saints but fossils, people without life, with none of the living reality of the Lord Jesus.  There must be the Incarnate Word and the interpreting word, that is, people whose lives back up what they preach:  "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men" (2 Corinthians 3:2).  Only when we receive the Holy Spirit and are lifted into a total readjustment to God do the words of God become "living and powerful" to us.  The only way the words of God can be understood is by contact with the Word of God.  The connection between our Lord Himself, who is the Word, and His spoken words is so close that to divorce them is fatal.  "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

     The Bible does not reveal all truth, we have to find out scientific truth and commonsense truth for ourselves, but knowledge of the Truth, our Lord Himself, is only possible through the reception of the Holy Spirit.  "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).  The Holy Spirit alone makes the Word of God understandable.  The regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is to incorporate us into Christ until we are living witnesses to Him.  S.D. Gordon put it well when he said, "We have the Bible bound in Morocco, bound in all kinds of beautiful leather; what we need is the Bible bound in shoe leather."  That is exactly the teaching of our Lord.  After the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, they became witnesses to Jesus, their lives spoke more eloquently than their lips:  "They realized that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).  The Holy Spirit being imparted to us and expressed through us is the manifested exhibition that God can do all that His word states He can.  It is those who have received the Holy Spirit who understand the will of God and "grow up in all things into Him."  When the Scriptures are made living and powerful by the Holy Spirit, they fit every need of life.  The only Interpreter of the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit, and when we have received the Holy Spirit, we learn the first golden lesson of spiritual life which is that God reveals His will according to the state of our characters (compare Psalm 18:25-26).

Source:  Oswald Chambers, "Biblical Ethics," pg. 153-155.